May 24, 2022 Road America, Elkhart Lake WI: This year’s Midwest Automotive Media Association’s Spring Rally at fabled Road America, meant facetime with VW’s Jerhon Anderson, track time in the 2022 Jetta GLI and scenic drives via the 2022 Tiguan SEL R-Line.
Your correspondent fetched the GLI wearing a “T” for track windshield sticker, got into a queue and headed from RA’s paddock to the racetrack’s starting line for a quick spin on a snaky course with hills and off-camber thrills. The GLI sports a fresh fascia, revised shift lever, revamped interior accents and louder looking tailpipes. It comes in one trim: Autobahn. Anderson says you can pick either a six-speed manual (AKA Joy Stick) or VW’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The test car had the latter. MSRP is $33,980. GLIs, furthermore, benefit from an independent rear suspension.
The GLI, despite its Sport Mode, upshifts too soon, blunting acceleration out of turns. Paddle shifters let you downshift and hold a lower gear longer, wringing out more oomph from the turbocharged 228-hp mill. Since the track was cool and wet, careful car control, rather than insane speed and intensive braking for RA’s corners, was necessary. The Jetta compiled. Compared with Hyundai’s feisty Elantra N another RA sampler, the Jetta speaks compact luxury sedan better than sports sedan.
VW’s 2022 Tiguan, in contrast, is a compact crossover best suited for hauling you and your gear to the lakes near Elkhart Lake. All trims come with VW’s Digital Cockpit, a video display/instrument cluster. The climate-control panel now features touch sensors. The R-Line’s bottom line is $37,790 if your dealer plays nicely and VW keeps the lid on inflation. The updated front cabin’s atmosphere seems airy and agreeable. There’s adequate power for plying the sublime glacial terrain called Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine. Steering is light but accurate.